COVID-19 AND BUSINESS AVIATION

As the coronavirus pandemic intensifies, you may be thinking about ways to avoid crowded airliners and airports. If so, now is a good time to get acquainted with flying privately. Here are articles and a video that will get you up to speed in a hurry.

How to quit the airlines and fly on a private jet

It may be easier than you think, though you’ll need to do a little homework to figure out which of the many flying modes and providers would be best for you. If you’re new to private aviation, you might want to opt for ad hoc charter before trying a membership club or jet card. Later, you might consider fractional or full aircraft ownership. It all depends on your budget and your needs. In this video, we offer guidance from several experts.

Medaire Offers Covid-19 Testing and Tracking

The medical services provider is also offering equipment and training for the screening of passengers and crews.

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Gulfstream Steps Up Clean Cabin Efforts

It emits positive and negative oxygen ions that Gulfstream said inactivate harmful molecules on surfaces and in the air. Further, it neutralizes particulate matter—not only bacteria and viruses but also unpleasant odors from organic material such as cigarette smoke.

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Bombardier Donates 2,800 Face Shields

The Canadian manufacturer recently donated 2,800 of the shields to HCA Healthcare East Florida Division for distribution throughout the medical care provider’s 15 affiliates across East Florida.

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Phoenix FBO Contracts for On-site COVID Testing

Phoenix-based Swift Aviation has taken the step to provide free, on-site COVID testing to its employees. It has partnered with COVID Testing to You to offer rapid response viral and antibody tests to quickly identify positive cases, even those who are asymptomatic, so they may self-quarantine and reduce the spread of the disease, protecting their co-workers and customers.

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NetJets Reinstates Europe Fleet, Plots Path for Growth

With a steady increase in flight activity and a promising outlook for growth in the post-COVID-19 era, NetJets is reinstating most of its fleet in Europe that was previously planned for disposal, as well as all NetJets Europe pilots and cabin crew who were furloughed in April. Further, NetJets plans to add more than 60 additional aircraft across the fleet worldwide between now and the end of next year, the company recently announced.

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Directional Aviation Launches Premium Air Charter Provider

The new on-demand service was originally scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter, but with more people considering private jet travel to minimize their risk of exposure to the coronavirus, Directional decided to accelerate FXAir’s introduction. According to Slow, FXAir has been quietly marketed to customers for the past month and has already began flight operations.

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Coronavirus Brings Cabin Humidity Levels into Question

Low relative humidity in aircraft cabins—as low as 5 percent at altitude—is not healthy for humans. It creates a host of problems, including drying out sinuses and diminishing the ability to smell and taste. But those inconveniences pale in comparison to how it increases vulnerability to disease. It is especially problematic on long intercontinental flights with fewer people on board because the breath of passengers supplies much of the humidity that does exist in aircraft cabins. A person exhales about 3.5 ounces of water per hour.

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New Bizav Group To Share Best COVID-19 Practices

The recently launched CleanFlying Coalition is a nonprofit group of private aviation companies committed to promoting and implementing best health practices in the COVID-19 era. Industry data provider FlightAware organized the coalition, whose founding members include Atlantic Aviation, FlightSafety International, ForeFlight, Global Appearance Partners, Go Rentals, Keystone Aviation, Simcom, and Tac Air.

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VistaJet Equips Fleet With Telemedicine Devices

The provider has is now carrying health monitors aboard its entire private jet fleet. The devices allow flight crew to measure and transmit vital clinical data and images, along with real-time voice and video, to medical assessment provider MedAire’s 24/7 ground center.

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New England Patriots’ Jet Delivers Masks

To help fight coronavirus, Universal Weather and Aviation assisted in the shipment of masks from China using the NFL team’s Boeing 767.

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How To Evaluate COVID-19 Cabin-Cleaning Choices

Aircraft operators are being presented with myriad ways to protect their crews and passengers from COVID-19. As more becomes known about the virus, some solutions are emerging as more suitable than others. Aircraft owners should demand to see peer-reviewed data for disinfection products and systems to ensure that they do what their manufacturers claim they can do. Some products are not regulated by the EPA, and so their makers generate their own data.

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Signature Rolls Out COVID-19 Standards

Signature Flight Support has launched SignatureAssure, its COVID-19 response program. The program encompasses all recommended practices, including social distancing with signage and floor markings, a mandatory employee training plan, and use of personal protection equipment. Health screenings are administered at the start of every worker shift using pulse oximeters and touchless thermometers. In its more than 200 facilities worldwide, a 50-point facility cleanliness checklist has been adopted and is implemented several times a day. It incorporates technologies such as electrostatic sprayers that allow large areas of the terminals to be quickly sanitized. In lounge areas, furniture has been reconfigured to meet current social distancing guidelines and all non-essential common use items have been removed.

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5 Tips Every Charter Customer Should Read

Last June, a charter brokerage called JetSmarter dropped membership requirements and stopped providing free seats on its scheduled shuttle flights, its signature benefit, leading to a spate of lawsuits from members accusing the company of fraud. Then a video of a disturbed and threatening passenger onboard a JetSmarter shuttle flight surfaced in the fall, followed in January by a scathing CNBC broadcast that reported the charter brokerage was losing millions of dollars monthly. JetSmarter was then acquired by Vista Global and folded into a larger platform called XO, but important lessons remain. Here are several takeaways that are worth pondering no matter what lift provider you employ.

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Tri-state Area Imposes COVID Travel Regulations

The quarantine, which began at midnight on June 24, applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average. All three states will also ask hotels to communicate the 14-day quarantine to guests who have traveled from one of the impacted states, which currently includes Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North and South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.

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Charter Providers Roll Out Safety Measures

With the COVID-19 crisis severely curtailing commercial aviation traffic, private aircraft charter providers are eager to assure the traveling public that they are employing the latest in disinfection and sanitization measures.

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How Much Does It Cost to Fly Privately?

You might be surprised how much your money will buy. In some cases, prices can actually be on par with what you’d pay for a first-class airline seat. For $25,000 to $75,000, you can opt for a membership club or a low-cost jet card that buys you multiple private flights. Another option in some areas is so-called private airlines, which offer scheduled service on established routes, but with less hassle than airlines and much lower costs than traditional charter.
 

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Company Cautions on Aircraft Disinfectants

As a growing number of organizations turn their attention to disinfection to guard against COVID-19, aviation disinfection and protection specialist David Allen Certified advises ensuring the use of the right products and making sure any such protection not only eliminates existing pathogens but protects against future ones.

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Six Questions Every Charter Customer Should Ask

Never sign up with a flight provider until you thoroughly understand what it can do for you—and where it might fall short. Does the operator make you feel safe? Do the ground arrangements work? Is the cabin in excellent shape? Does the operator communicate with you? Answers to these and other queries can help you to quickly size up a company.

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Thanks To New Regulations, You Can Breathe Easier

Charter brokers have been unregulated since the industry’s dawn, yet many in the field have long called for oversight. Rules implemented last year by the U.S. Department of Transportation represent a big step in that direction by requiring lift providers to offer more disclosures and guarantees of transparency. For example, brokers must now make clear that they are only arranging the flight and have no operational control. And all flight providers must now give you the real price of the trip, including all known charges.

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What To Do If You Become Ill While Traveling

In a medical emergency, you’ll want to be able to get to your home hospital or other first-rate treatment facility once you’re stable enough to be moved. The bad news is that an air ambulance flight can cost $200,000 or more. The good news is that medevac insurance companies and membership programs can cover the cost and handle the arrangements. Here’s more on what they can do for you, along with expert advice on how to get care in a foreign country.

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NetJets Expands Employee Coronavirus Testing

NetJets has partnered with North Carolina-headquartered Cellex to make antibody testing available to its employees in the coming weeks. The program augments the fractional ownership provider’s joint initiative with its pilots’ union, NetJets Association of Shared Aircraft Pilots, to offer Covid-19 testing for free to its employees through Quest Diagnostics. The moves come as NetJets prepares for economies to begin reopening.

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Air BP Offers Support During COVID-19 Crisis

The global fuel provider recently donated three million gallons of jet-A to assist in the delivery of medical supplies and essential goods to at-risk areas.

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Avoiding Security Risks When Flying Privately

In a world where security threats seem to be around every corner, flying privately can help to keep you safe. But even business jet travelers face risks. The good news is that you can reduce them. In this must-see video, John Cauthen, security director of a company called MedAire, identifies the main risks that private travelers face and the geographical areas that are most dangerous. He talks about problems that could occur preflight, en route, and at your destination. He also details what flight crews can do to avoid those problems and what passengers can do to further reduce risk.

 

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The Future Of Air Charter

A handful of large companies are in the forefront when it comes to finding innovative ways for travelers to access business aviation. Here’s a look at the latest offerings of four of those companies: Directional Aviation Capital, whose subsidiaries include Flexjet and Sentient Jet; Wheels Up, which recently merged with Delta Private Jets; Vista Global Holdings, whose XO operation combines the former XOJet and JetSmarter; and fractional-share pioneer NetJets.

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XOJet Implements Virus Countermeasures

Flight provider XOJet has implemented a comprehensive approach to ensure the health and safety of its passengers and crew.  Among the measures XOJet has taken is the application of ClearCabin 90-day disinfectant and antimicrobial barrier. The treatment forms an “invisible bio-barrier coating” to protect against bacteria, mold, and fungi. The treatment lasts nearly three months, but the operator is reapplying it every 45 days to ensure maximum protection.

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NetJets Makes Delivery Run for Hospitals

Business aviation companies are providing much-needed help in the COVID-19 crisis. One example: fractional-jet-share provider NetJets sent a pair of its Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nanjing, China, last week to pick up five and a half tons of much-needed medical equipment, including N95 masks. The jets then flew to New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport, where the equipment was unloaded and sent on to New York City’s Mount Sinai Health System.

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Embraer to Make Ventilator Parts to Combat Covid-19

Brazilian business aircraft manufacturer Embraer has announced that it will manufacture ventilator and respirator parts to help combat the COVID-19 crisis. It will also help to develop filtration systems that could turn regular hospital beds into ones suitable for patients in intensive care. In addition, it is providing technical support for development of biological air-filtration systems for hospital beds.

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COVID-19 strikes the business jet market

Buy, sell, or hold? We’re talking about a private jet, not your investment portfolio, as the preowned market deals with the symptoms of COVID-19, which render aircraft values largely unknowable and paralyze the mechanics of transactions. Indeed, you can do little to exercise your options responsibly until the world returns to some level of stability, but here are key considerations to keep in mind while you’re waiting.

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Flight Providers Offer Discounts to Customers Affected by JetSuite’s Bankruptcy Filing

Private jet operators—including Wheels Up, FlyExclusive, and Alliance Aviation— are touting deals designed to attract the failed company's customers.

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Clay Lacy Adds Disinfection Services

The ionization process used by the aviation services company, which takes an hour, releases millions of charged ion particles that kill airborne and surface pathogens such as COVID-19, influenza viruses, staph, other dangerous bacteria, and mold. Once that is completed, technicians spray the cabin with disinfectant, wipe it down, and dry it. Leather surfaces and upholstery receive specific attention. Upon exiting the aircraft, technicians thoroughly clean the entryway.

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Q&A: Bizav Basics

Thinking about trying business aviation because of the pandemic? Here's what you need to know first, including what you should expect to pay.

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FBO Chain Donates And Delivers Masks To Hospital

Million Air has given back by donating 8,000 surgical respiratory face masks and 1,100 N95 protective face masks to nearby White Plains Hospital. It coordinated with the Westchester Business Council and dispatched a Houston-based Cessna Citation S/II from its charter fleet.

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Boeing Joins Coronavirus Relief Effort

The manufacturer used its own BBJ to deliver more than half a million masks from China to New Hampshire.

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Will Government Help Business Aviation Survive COVID-19?

The private aviation industry is an important part of the U.S. economy. How will the crisis affect it?

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Volunteers Step Up For Cancer Patients Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Critical flights continue for the Corporate Angel Network (CAN), the charitable organization that arranges free travel on what would otherwise be empty seats on business jets for patients traveling to or from cancer treatment. CAN is closely coordinating with hospitals and other cancer organizations, to ensure that they know its efforts are continuing. As for participating operators, CAN notes that these missions can serve as an opportunity for pilots to maintain hours and for those repositioning aircraft for maintenance or other purposes.

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Duncan Expands Disinfectant Service To Satellite Shops

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its related concerns, Duncan Aviation has expanded disinfectant services to five of its satellite avionics shops, with plans to add more locations soon. The company’s satellite locations now offering the service are in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Houston; Seattle; Teterboro, New Jersey; and Van Nuys, California.

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Textron Aviation Begins Mask, Face Shield Production

The airframer is collaborating with Wichita State University to manufacture protective gear for healthcare workers and its own employees.

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Avfuel Begins Production Of Personal Protective Equipment for Hospitals

Workers who manufacture and maintain refueler trucks in Avfuel's Avtank division have begun using 3D printers to create face mask ear hooks and face shield headbands to help protect front-line health workers. As of last week, the Ann Arbor company produced 200 ear hooks, which were sent to a company for sterilization and packaging, for donation to the University of Michigan Hospital. Facing a limit on printing capacity, the team will add higher-capacity devices with a goal of producing more than 100 items per day.

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Coronavirus Spurs Catering Concerns

 The Food and Drug Administration and local authorities regulate in-flight caterers, which already follow stringent guidelines to assure food safety. Enhanced protocols implemented since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic include even more frequent sanitization of kitchens and refrigerated delivery vehicles with hospital-grade products; regularly scheduled alarms reminding workers to wash their hands and/or change their gloves; wiping down incoming and outgoing packaging with food-grade wipes; and limiting the number of workers in the kitchen at a time.

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Deliveries Support Social Distancing

Last April, Wing became the first drone delivery service in the U.S. to be certified as an air carrier by the Federal Aviation Administration. Since then, its 10-pound aircraft has made more than 100,000 flights, delivering packages weighing up to three pounds on round trips of up to 12 miles at speeds of up to 70 mph. The company has developed its own unmanned traffic management system based on mapping software.

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Pandemic and Hurricanes Not a Good Mix

Meteorological predictions are calling for more active hurricanes this year, and two have already made landfall before the traditional start of the Caribbean/Atlantic storm season on June 1. While preparations in vulnerable areas are in motion, this year brings the added complication of having to deal with the COVID-19 threat as well.

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Wheels Up Launches Initiative To Provide 10 Million Meals

 The private aviation operator will partner with Feeding America to help those facing hunger during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Puppies on the Plane!

When online canine marketplace PuppySpot found itself impacted by the COVID-19 airline slowdown, it turned to private aviation to deliver pets to their new homes.  PuppySpot, which works closely with veterinarians, scientific advisers, and animal trainers and chaperones, prides itself on humane and careful treatment of the animals. It began to research alternatives and ultimately decided to enlist MNX Global Logistics to organize private cargo lift for the puppies. 

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